Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Norway maple # 1, 2, 3

Norway maple (Acer platanoides) is a very common tree in the south of Finland. There were two big maples in the garden of our old house and each year new shoots would start to pop up all over the ground underneath the big trees. A few I took and planted into the ground and left to grow there for 3 years. During the winter the rabbits would come and eat away the brackets. We moved house at the end of last year so had to dig them up if I wanted to bring them with me.

The size of the leaves are quite big and I am told that they are not easy to reduce, but I will at least work on them and let's see what happens. If nothing else it will be good practice doing the normal tasks (trimming, pruning, repotting etc.) that is required to make a normal tree into a bonsai style.

The tree below is possibly the variety "Crimson King" which has dark purple leaves. Believe it or not the tree had been the ground the same amount of time as the above two maples but has only grown 10 cm in height.

All these trees were removed from the ground in October 2008 and potted into these pots. I understand that this would not be recommended to do so late in the season, but it was either that or leave them for the new owners to maybe dig up and destroy anyway.


  1. Hello! Nice blog you have. Good to have more bonsai action in Finland, its been rather lame.

    Just wanted to comment common maple leaf reduction. I once had a maple with about 5cm trunk, nothing special really, but allowed me to practice. First leaves in the spring were about 10cm in diameter, and after total leaf removal next set was 5-7cm. Leaf stalk was about that too. Not small, but pretty small, considering. Whole tree was smaller than big maple leaf. I was greedy with that one, I think I killed it with too much leaf reduction, or some other stupidity.

    Maple leaves do look large even on big trees. So it should be acceptable to have bigger leaves in bonsai too, I suppose.

    Keep on blogging!

  2. Hello Jani,

    Thanks for your nice comments. I try to keep the look of the blog clean and simple so it is easy to read.

    Regarding the maple trees as you said they at least allow us to practice when they are growing everywhere and quite easy to take care of. I want to try to remove the larger roots first before worrying too much about the size of the leaves. I plan to repot next year the ones that I didn't do this year, but lets see in the spring what happens.


  3. I have my eye on a beautiful large Norway maple stump at my in-law's house. Come spring and I will try to collect it. Although the leaves are large and reduction will be little, a larger sized bonsai will do justice to the overall proportion.

  4. Hi Aman,
    There was a recent article in Bonsai Focus magazine relating to a Norway maple. The owner defoliated the tree 4 times in the same year to reduce the leaf size. Of course this type of excessive treatment can only be performed on very healthy trees but still quite interesting that this can be done during one growing season.